In Spring 1848, Mexican, Indian, and American miners began gold mining along Dry Creek. A camp developed, called Drytown, now the oldest town in Amador County. Despite its name, Drytown was not a dry town, and by 1849 several saloons were open to serve the town's 200-300 miners. By 1852, the town had grown to a respectable size, and that year gained a post office, stamp mill, school, and Catholic church.

Drytown's first major fire was in 1855. The blaze was intentionally set to destroy the Chilean section of town, which it did. Even so, the town reached its peak soon thereafter. Gold bearing quartz was discovered, and by 1857 four stamp mills were in operation with a combined fifty-two stamps. Unfortunately, another fire struck that year, which spelled the end of Drytown. The gold was starting to dwindle, and the town never recovered.